I have been busy the last month or so tending to my very first garden. I have waited my whole life to have my own garden. I grew up learning about plants and tending to them with my mom, but at a nursery. My mom instilled a love for plants, gardening and the earth from a young age. I figured I should try and do the same with my children. So, I have taken on the very big task (I had no idea it was so much work) of making my very own Garden.


I thought I would share with you some of my favorite artisans from The Raleigh Handmade Market. Take a peek!


Dont get frustrated about branding and marketing your handmade business. Take a breath, be authentic, make mistakes, and keep trying.


 I have been going through some old hard drives the last few days and thought I should share some projects that i have created in the past. some of them are random illustrations, client work and even a few from college projects. It is so fun to look back and see how much you have learned, changed and evolved as a designer. It gives you a great perspective.  ED Hardy Inspired Illustration.When I worked at OneUpWeb I was asked to create an Ed Hardy inspired illustration that incorporated elements you might find in Traverse City, Michigan. Salmon, birds, cherry blossoms and water were elements we wanted to represent the beautiful location where we worked. This illustration was used on coffee mugs, tshirts and other online marketing campaigns. I definitly have changed since illustrating this.    A doodle for my stepdaughter.My stepdaughter was in her sophomore year of high school and she loved to draw on her clothes so I decided I should design something more fitting for her. I designed a doodled pair of shoes for her to flaunt at school and she loved them. I believe she wore them out. She got multiple inquiries on where she got them and I got a number of calls from her friends.   Network Traverse City LogosI created some logo options for a small networking company based in Traverse City, Michigan that helped local small businesses with their social media and connect them with other small businesses. I focused on the many areas of interest in the area and drew a lot of inspiration from the food, culture, and atmosphere of the region.     Unconventional Calendar - Tea For EverydayOh college, those were the days...days I could sleep in (if I didn't have class or a lunch date). Days when I didn't have a million things to do or kids to drop off or lunches to pack...or boogers to wipe. I miss college. I miss working on projects just for the fun of it! I should probably get back to doing that. This project was given to us to create a design on our own. We were told to take a font to showcase and create an unconventional calendar. We had to showcase the different type styles and create a unique calendar. Some of my classmates created wall hangings, lamp shades, and other fun ideas but for some reason, I wanted to try a package I created the calendar using a different flavor and type style for each month. The font I was given was Helvetica Neue. I had a great time picking out the flavors based on the connotation of the different type styles and weights. What a fun college project this was. I think I may go have a cup of tea...    Frederick Meijer Gardens BrochureHere is another throwback to college. We were given the task of marketing an event at the Frederick Meijer Gardens. My event was a showing of the plant Arborvitae...and If I think back far enough I think it was mostly used for shelter-belts and for shielding farms and driveways from unwanted wind or neighbors gazes. This was a made up project but it sure was fun. I think If I were to do it now I would photograph the actual leaves and plants instead of using a hand illustrated approach. I would do some different image making techniques to show the intricate patterns on the leaves. I still think this was one of my favorite college projects.       Family Reunion InvitationAnother college goodie! This is possibly my favorite college project. We were tasked with creating a family reunion invitation to showcase our family traditions and style. My family just so happened to be called the HAZARD family. Yes, you read it right, the Hazards. We love outdoors sports and if there was snow at Christmas time we were outside sledding or snowmobiling or skiing...or blasting someone with a snowball. We lived up to our name and I thought I should showcase our love for the outdoors and our love for the snow. I created this invite to resemble a Geschmossel which is a german ski race...anyway so I could imagine 77 of us (we have a bigger family now) all tangled up in a mad dash to the bottom of the mountain. It really sounds like a Hazard to me!       It is so weird looking back at these old projects. I can't believe I have been a designer for almost 17 years (including my education in vocational school in high school. Thanks, Mr. Jensen!) I am beginning to feel a little old. That's ok, along with getting old you learn, and that's most definitely what I have been doing. I am so blessed to have spent the last 17 years doing what I love to do. ​


My son turned 1 in December and I finally got to have his birthday celebration after a crazy winter storm passed through.




I often get asked how I do it. How do you run a business, design, take care of your home, husband and your children? of course in that list my husband and children always come first. sorry clients. I hope that doesn't put you off but they are my life before work and I must preserve my family in order to enjoy my profession. family is important but really the most important thing on my list is my relationship with god. I could not do any of those things if i didn't have a relationship with my creator and focus on him first.


So that is how I do it. God first. When I made the decision to really focus on my business and be able to make my own schedule so I could choose what days or activities I do with my children I went to God first. Without him I could not do what I do. I actually would not have made the decision to stay home with them if it were not for his direction. I am so thankful to have listened to him when he pressed it on my heart to grow my business and reach for my dreams. Being able to see my kids throughout the day is amazing. I love having lunch with them in-between meetings and working. 


Being a mom in this day and age is tough. Really being a mom in any time in history is tough. I think it's tougher now because the social norms are shifting. More and more women are going to work and boy are we feeling the pressure and pulls of being a good mom and a good business woman. So you ask how I do it? This is a few ways:  


God First.

When I first started contemplating whether or not to pursue my passion for design and branding one night while reading the bible I opened to John 15:5 (NIV) and read this:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

I truly believe that God has blessed me because of my desire to pursue him. 


There is no I in TEAM.
I could not do what I do without my husband. He really is my rock. His support and encouragement are priceless. Those times he says, "Gosh babe you work so hard for our family, thank you for all you do." really make my day. Sometimes though I don't think he really understands the depth of work that I actually accomplish in one day. From working, client calls, working, marketing, more client calls, laundry, taking the kids to play dates, arranging sitters so I can work, vacuuming, picking up his socks and putting away laundry. There is no end to the list really. lol.. But without his help with the kids on weekends and help to get the kids off to bed so I can work until 2 (until Owen my 11 months old wakes up to nurse) I couldn't do it by myself.  


I should also say thank you to my amazing friends and family. From my awesome church and MOPS group. Especially my mom. She takes the kids for me some days and helps as much as she can. She is so amazing and really has encouraged my passion for design from a young age. I owe a lot to her. 

I work pretty much anytime I don't have the kids

On the days I am home with the kids I set a pretty tight schedule so I can be sure to get them down for a good nap. Nap time is my best friend and my time to get things done. Other than that my priority is tiring them out so they go down easily, without a fuss, and for good 2-3 hours. I turn off Facebook or other nonessential business software and really focus during this time. 

Finding childcare is on of the hardest things I have to do. I am still working on this actually. I do pay a helper to help my mom while she watches the kids so be sure she can get time with them and not be overwhelmed. I will also be sending Emmalyn to a pre-school for a few days a week. My schedule fluctuates so much that it's hard to nail down a weekly schedule right now. I just take the help when I can get it and work when the kids are asleep or occupied.



Little things that help?


Grab Something...


Don't walk out of a room without taking something that doesn't belong there. Put it away on your way to do something else.


Clean Counters

Just keep your kitchen clean. I think this area is the most important to me...the rest of the house is ok if I let it go during a busy week. Sometimes the kitchen counter and my made bed are the only places in the house that are clean. And you know what? That is ok. My kids are happy.



Try and take care of laundry as it gets done but If you cant just ask your husband when he gets home from work. 


Play Hard
Take time to really play with your kids. If you can dedicate a 20-minute time frame to really play they will usually entertain themselves for a good hour letting me check emails etc.


Find Good Help
Find someone you trust who can take them at the last minute or who doesn't mind watching them so you can get a few things done in the morning.  


Be An Early Riser

On the nights I actually go to bed early (those nights my kids need me) I try and get up early to work and read The Word some before my kids get up. On other nights I work till 3 or 4 and wake up around 7 when my oldest wakes.


Old Fashioned Calendar

Get an old fashioned family calendar, like an actual old school calendar, you hang on your fridge. I find that this is the best way for me to keep client phone calls and deadlines along with my personal dates etc.

Date Your Husband 

Date nights with your husband. You would be surprised at how much work you can get done if you have a nice date with your husband. It relieves me of a lot of stress and allows me to take a minute to relax with my best friend. I think that helps me work better.

Get a crockpot and use it
Have a stocked pantry. I usually just have a really stocked pantry so I can throw together a gourmet meal quickly if I forget to plan a meal in the morning. I hate weekly meal planning because it never works out. One of us either wants something else or the dinner I have planned just doesn't sound good. Having things on hand to craft an awesome meal is nice.


Make time for you.

Even if that just means taking a shower by yourself...seriously. Don't feel bad if you put the kids in their high chairs while you take a quick shower you will work better during the day. Spend time with God. Find time no matter what, even if that's while you are eating your lunch. Oh and make sure you eat something. I try and eat a little something when my kids do but that sometimes gets forgotten. I guess that can kind of be a good thing. I have lost 10 pounds in the last few months. Baby weight stinks but babies are so worth it. lol Another thing is try and take a walk in the morning. Take the dog and the kids if you have to. But it will reset you for the most tedious tasks of the day. 


As a brand strategist, a mother, wife and I hate to say it housekeeper (ugh!) I strive to be the best at what God has given me. I am so incredibly blessed and without him, I couldn't do any of this. Owning a business is hard. Owning a business with kids is even harder. Praise God thought that I get to do what I love. Design, branding, talk with amazing artisans and raise a beautiful family all at once.